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How to get just the right scent for channel catfish baits

Cat food

Think stinkier is better? Think again—these kitties prefer fresh food

Channel cats have among the most sophisticated senses of smell and taste in the fish world. Because their eyes are so small, they rely almost exclusively on their highly developed olfactory senses, especially in dark, muddy water.

Anglers often use overly ripe bait, thinking it will help the fish find it. That won’t work, however, because channel cats disdain sour or tainted bait.

Think stinkier is better? Think again—channel cats prefer fresh food Click to Tweet
Unlike other catfish, channel cats prefer fresh fare

Unlike their relatives in the catfish family, they prefer their meals to be fresh. So always use fresh or recently thawed chunks of sucker, ciscoe, goldeye, squid, shrimp or leopard frogs. If the bait smells off to you, it will to the cats, too.

Gord Pyzer

Gord Pyzer

Fishing Editor Gord Pyzer is widely regarded as Canada's most scientific angler. Known in fishing circles as Doctor Pyzer, he worked for 30 years as a senior manager with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources before devoting all his energies to fishing. A member of the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame, the award-winning writer is also an internationally sought out speaker, tournament angler and field editor with In-Fisherman Magazine and Television. As well, he co-hosts the Real Fishing Radio Show with Bob Izumi. Catch Gord on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show live every Saturday morning 8:05AM EST. If you're in southern Ontario, tune your radio to Sportsnet 590 The FAN AM or visit and listen live online.

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